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Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also called Adhesive Capsulitis is a condition characterised by pain and loss of motion in shoulder joint. It is more common in older adults aged between 40 and 60 years and is more common in women than men.


Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the ligaments holding the shoulder bones to each other. The shoulder capsule becomes thick, tight, and the stiff bands of tissue called adhesions may develop. Individuals with shoulder injury, shoulder surgeries, shoulder immobilised for longer period, other disease conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and cardiac diseases are at risk of developing frozen shoulder. Professor Bain has edited a book on the frozen shoulder (link) including a chapter on the cause and classification.


Frozen shoulder may cause pain and stiffness and limit the movements of shoulder.


Frozen shoulder condition can be diagnosed by the presenting symptoms and radiological diagnostic procedures such as X-rays or MRI scans. 

Conservative Treatment

Conservative Treatment options include:

  • Analgesia such as Panadol
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections for pain
  • Physiotherapy to improve your range of motion
  • Sometimes heat may be applied to reduce pain


Shoulder arthroscopy may be recommended if the conservative treatment is not successful. During surgery, the scar tissue will be removed and tight ligaments, if any, will be dissected. Following surgery physiotherapy will be advised to bring full range of motion and strengthen the muscles.